Thanks for the warm welcome!

Bountiful

XS650 Enthusiast
Messages
34
Reaction score
53
Points
18
Location
Sunny Suffolk
Several of you know that I had recently posted a reply as a newbie. Joining this forum was always my intention however it’s taken 18 months or so of dropping by to swat up on a few things and get a taste. Now I finally have my XS I guess you could say I’m committed and I feel like it’s certainly a good place to be.

Hi guys and gals I look forward to sharing my journey of ownership with you all and be prepared for lots of questions!
I’ve not had her long, couple months or so. Originally I was looking for something ‘done’ or almost complete in the style of a flat track bike as I have loved the style since I was a boy. My passion for these bikes have stemmed from my dads love of bonnys and the parallel twin engine but I preferred the Yam. I Looked at a few this year but was always disappointed with the condition and lack of matching numbers and then this one came up.

It’s a 447 originally a US import and has lived in Kent for 10 or so years. Its in great nick showing nearly 30k on the clock with no other modifications or upgrades apart from an additional front brake and uprated master cylinder. Invoices show bushes and head bearings replaced. Other than that it doesn’t seem to desperately want anything.

I haven’t carried out compression test yet but it seems quite tight compared to other XS’s I've viewed and kicked over. It starts on second kick usually and idles well though the carbs do require a balance. Not entirely sure how I am going to achieve this as there’s no obvious signs of vacuum nipples on the carbs to connect a manometer so should I just attempt this by feel of the exhaust pressure?

Overall I’m pretty happy with its condition considering it’s age and I feel like I’ve got a goodun. My aim is to tastefully freshen it up rather than to strip and chop into a proper tracker as I feel this one deserves to maintain its originality, also keeping its colour scheme. I love the colour. Subtle changes to be considered are..

..items Like chrome clocks, exchange the bars for the right flat tracker type, the exhaust system- doing away with the balance pipe, a tad shorter and something a bit more free flowing to aid performance. And it must have a pair of Dunlop DT tyres! (Or that type) Though I’ve discovered they only come in 19s so I guess this would mean changing the rear out for a new laced H-pattern Excel- and would this tyre combo fit under the fenders/between forks/swingarm? -Bearing tyre size selection in mind.

Then this leads to suspension. Yes I would like to drop it maybe 2 inch at the front so would it be wise to go for progressive springs before I attempt to fit a lowering kit or will the existing springs work well without replacing them?

Also, I’d like to update the wiring loom I am usually one to lean towards the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” however I’d feel a bit more confident taking her out a bit further knowing it doesn’t have 45year old electrics. A lot of thought has gone into replacing the ignition with a Boyer system but again I’m still keen to keep it on points. I’ve heard and read a lot of conflicting info about swapping the original system for electrical ignition. What are your thoughts and experiences?

Other things on my mind are changing the style of the seat without grinding off the hinges. I see Redmax has an aluminium XR shaped seat cowl which would look great painted in the blue with the pinstripe to match imo but it’s unlikely to fit without much modification to the frame I’m sure so I would consider a compromise of a brat style cushion or something stylish to utilise its current fitment and also keep the rear loop and fender.

What would be the best thing to do in regards to the whole oil filter debarcle? Keep the sump filter and secondary OEM or change these out for the external versions?! Also what are the best options for oil?

Should I be considering a full engine rebuild at this age before I attempt any aesthetic changes?

Currently I am in the process of removing the tank liner which seems to be going quite well and I won’t be re-lining it either as I feel it isn’t required and I’m a firm believer that they’re more trouble than they’re worth in the long run. The tank will be having a re spray along with the side panels as it’s not as nice in the flesh compared to the pics.

I think that’s about it for now, I’ll be dropping by the existing threads from time to time to ask about other things so I’m sure to see you there!

Any help with these ideas, suggestions of suppliers and professionals etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all for stopping by and taking an interest in my plans. I look forward to reading everyone’s inputs and oogling at your pics!

Kindest regards, Kev
From Sunny Suffolk.

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Hi Kev and welcome! That's a lot of questions and I ain't about to try and answer them all. You have a great looking XS so I would say, steady as you go, there's no rush. The best way to make changes you are happy with is to live with the bike and let ideas mull over. I think Boyer Bransden is a good idea - because I've had Boyer on a Norton Commando, Kawasaki Z1, Triumph TR6 and my XS - these all came with Boyer fitted. And just recently fitted BB to my RE Bullet and I've never had a single problem, just fit, set, forget.

With the engine, I don't see any point in a full rebuild if there's nothing wrong with it. If you later decide it needs work, it doesn't matter whether or not you've already done aesthetic changes.

I don't think you would have any trouble fitting a 19" with a knobbly Dunlop in the rear but might want to fit slightly longer shocks at the same time. That might give the stance you are after without lowering the front. Others will offer advice.

My XS has a Smedspeed spin-on filter fitted which I think is the best way to go. Some people have had probs getting hold of Nick Forte but I think he is still trading. Have a look at my Miss November thread for more discussion and piccies.

Oh, and for Gawds sake don't ask about oil - too late, you only have yourself to blame. I use Putoline 20W50 Formula V-Twin, partly because the village m/c engineer supplies Putoline oils so I can walk along the road and buy some.

Cheers, Raymond
 
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Also, I’d like to update the wiring loom I am usually one to lean towards the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” however I’d feel a bit more confident taking her out a bit further knowing it doesn’t have 45year old electrics
Let's begin with the electrics; a good project is to go through the loom and clean each connector, making sure a snug fit. That will go a long way toward reliability, while familiarizing you with the layout. I would replace the old rectifier and regulator with a modern, solid state combination unit

https://www.heidentuning.com/xs650-...fier-regulator-solid-state-1-2503-detail.html

The other two trouble areas in the electrics are the rotor (field coil) and the fuse box. The former can fail unpredictably. The latter: ensure that the fuse clips are holding snuggly.

The dirt track tires are a little skittish at higher speeds on pavement - I run a Dunlop K180 or a Shinko 130/80-19. To run a 19" rear requires the wheel to be moved to the very rear of the swingarm, perhaps 3 notches from the back - so you may need a longer chain.

Lowering the front forks is counter to the typical tracker set-up. I'm running Progressive springs with 3/4" spacers and Minton modded damper rods. A fork brace is also a good addition and keeping with the tracker style.

An alternative on the oil filters can also be found at Heiden tuning - I'm running these:

https://www.heidentuning.com/xs650-...sump-oil-filter-kit-heiden-tuning-detail.html

https://www.heidentuning.com/xs650-...lter-kit-heiden-tuning-design-new-detail.html

And your bars are close to tracker dimensions, just rotate them back a few inches, but make sure thay clear the tank at full-lock. Most tracker bars have a 5" rise and 4.5"- 5" pullback

https://www.tcbroschoppers.com/products/tc-bros-7-8-tracker-handlebars-black
 
Welcome to the forum. Great looking bike. I wouldn't replace the loom unless it has been damaged. From what I have heard the replacements are problematic. Like you said,if it ain't broke.... As jp said, check and clean all the connectors. I am not sure what the fuse box is like on this model, but it is a major problem on mine. If it has the old glass fuse type box, you may want to look into replacing it with something using the blade fuses at some point. At the very least, keep an eye on it.
 
Welcome and great looking bike. I have one of those in the stable waiting it’s turn. Yours is in much better shape but the same color/model. Just my 2 cents but if it runs and rides well perhaps just getting familiar with the bike before you make any changes may change how you feel. You might decide you like it just as it is.
 
I haven’t carried out compression test yet but it seems quite tight compared to other XS’s I've viewed and kicked over. It starts on second kick usually and idles well though the carbs do require a balance. Not entirely sure how I am going to achieve this as there’s no obvious signs of vacuum nipples on the carbs to connect a manometer so should I just attempt this by feel of the exhaust pressure?

Greetings Kev! Looks like you have a very nice bike there! By all means do a compression test, I also had a ‘77 with over 24,000 miles on the clock and the compression was like new. Here is a video of that same ‘77 running , while I was balancing the carburetors. You can buy gauges or make yourself a homemade manometer, here I’m using a very basic homemade unit, about 8’ of vinyl tubing taped to a yardstick and filled partway with automatic transmission fluid.

The vacuum ports on your carburetors are where these screws are. Remove them and screw in a nipple to put your hose on. Make sure it’s sealed. Motion Pro makes a set of vacuum port nipples.
46541F97-8DDF-4400-A244-97B8ADDC45F3.jpeg
 
Greetings Kev! Looks like you have a very nice bike there! By all means do a compression test, I also had a ‘77 with over 24,000 miles on the clock and the compression was like new. Here is a video of that same ‘77 running , while I was balancing the carburetors. You can buy gauges or make yourself a homemade manometer, here I’m using a very basic homemade unit, about 8’ of vinyl tubing taped to a yardstick and filled partway with automatic transmission fluid.

The vacuum ports on your carburetors are where these screws are. Remove them and screw in a nipple to put your hose on. Make sure it’s sealed. Motion Pro makes a set of vacuum port nipples.
View attachment 227207
Hey Mailman! Thanks for responding, this is a great help buddy so thank you I will certainly give this a try. Seems a more accurate way than my idea of using water in some bottles!
And I must say your ‘77 is looking sweet 😎
 
Ah well thanks, my 650’s have since been sold to forum members, but I like hanging out here and chipping in when I can.
Yea even if he isn't one of the "Cool Kids" anymore we still let him hang around! Then again I should talk as I have two Sportsters and only one XS650 on the road at present! Could be because my wife has a Ryker and a GTV300 is why they put up with me?
 
Several of you know that I had recently posted a reply as a newbie. Joining this forum was always my intention however it’s taken 18 months or so of dropping by to swat up on a few things and get a taste. Now I finally have my XS I guess you could say I’m committed and I feel like it’s certainly a good place to be.

Hi guys and gals I look forward to sharing my journey of ownership with you all and be prepared for lots of questions!
I’ve not had her long, couple months or so. Originally I was looking for something ‘done’ or almost complete in the style of a flat track bike as I have loved the style since I was a boy. My passion for these bikes have stemmed from my dads love of bonnys and the parallel twin engine but I preferred the Yam. I Looked at a few this year but was always disappointed with the condition and lack of matching numbers and then this one came up.

It’s a 447 originally a US import and has lived in Kent for 10 or so years. Its in great nick showing nearly 30k on the clock with no other modifications or upgrades apart from an additional front brake and uprated master cylinder. Invoices show bushes and head bearings replaced. Other than that it doesn’t seem to desperately want anything.

I haven’t carried out compression test yet but it seems quite tight compared to other XS’s I've viewed and kicked over. It starts on second kick usually and idles well though the carbs do require a balance. Not entirely sure how I am going to achieve this as there’s no obvious signs of vacuum nipples on the carbs to connect a manometer so should I just attempt this by feel of the exhaust pressure?

Overall I’m pretty happy with its condition considering it’s age and I feel like I’ve got a goodun. My aim is to tastefully freshen it up rather than to strip and chop into a proper tracker as I feel this one deserves to maintain its originality, also keeping its colour scheme. I love the colour. Subtle changes to be considered are..

..items Like chrome clocks, exchange the bars for the right flat tracker type, the exhaust system- doing away with the balance pipe, a tad shorter and something a bit more free flowing to aid performance. And it must have a pair of Dunlop DT tyres! (Or that type) Though I’ve discovered they only come in 19s so I guess this would mean changing the rear out for a new laced H-pattern Excel- and would this tyre combo fit under the fenders/between forks/swingarm? -Bearing tyre size selection in mind.

Then this leads to suspension. Yes I would like to drop it maybe 2 inch at the front so would it be wise to go for progressive springs before I attempt to fit a lowering kit or will the existing springs work well without replacing them?

Also, I’d like to update the wiring loom I am usually one to lean towards the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” however I’d feel a bit more confident taking her out a bit further knowing it doesn’t have 45year old electrics. A lot of thought has gone into replacing the ignition with a Boyer system but again I’m still keen to keep it on points. I’ve heard and read a lot of conflicting info about swapping the original system for electrical ignition. What are your thoughts and experiences?

Other things on my mind are changing the style of the seat without grinding off the hinges. I see Redmax has an aluminium XR shaped seat cowl which would look great painted in the blue with the pinstripe to match imo but it’s unlikely to fit without much modification to the frame I’m sure so I would consider a compromise of a brat style cushion or something stylish to utilise its current fitment and also keep the rear loop and fender.

What would be the best thing to do in regards to the whole oil filter debarcle? Keep the sump filter and secondary OEM or change these out for the external versions?! Also what are the best options for oil?

Should I be considering a full engine rebuild at this age before I attempt any aesthetic changes?

Currently I am in the process of removing the tank liner which seems to be going quite well and I won’t be re-lining it either as I feel it isn’t required and I’m a firm believer that they’re more trouble than they’re worth in the long run. The tank will be having a re spray along with the side panels as it’s not as nice in the flesh compared to the pics.

I think that’s about it for now, I’ll be dropping by the existing threads from time to time to ask about other things so I’m sure to see you there!

Any help with these ideas, suggestions of suppliers and professionals etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all for stopping by and taking an interest in my plans. I look forward to reading everyone’s inputs and oogling at your pics!

Kindest regards, Kev
From Sunny Suffolk.

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Hi Lev , how very strange I’ve just brought (1month) the same R reg bike not as tidy but the perfect starting point ie: not been buggered about with. I’m Northamptonshire
 

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